Monthly Archives: January 2022

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary, a book review

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir is a science fiction, saving-the-world-and-humanity, epic adventure. Ryland Grace is not your typical astronaut, he’s a junior high school science teacher!

This is the third book I’ve read from Weir. Like The Martian, this book is engaging, witty, and just overall fun to read. It’s full of science and has a very interesting plot. I won’t go into details about that, I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

After I read Artemis, I was very disappointed. I was hoping for another superbly entertaining science lesson, set in space. That’s not what Artemis is, and perhaps it’s my own fault for being disappointed by expecting it to be that.

However, for Project Hail Mary, Weir returns to the formula that made The Martian a success. That doesn’t mean it’s formulaic though! I found it very compelling, and while I did see some plot twists coming, that’s ok. It presents a view of humanity and life that I found inspiring.

Weir fills Project Hail Mary with interesting, flawed, dynamic characters, and it’s fun to see how they go about saving humanity. I think this would make a great movie, with Wil Wheaton as Ryland.

I will say I may never think of spiders in the same way again. Also, I wonder what life is out there in the Cosmos that we just haven’t discovered yet? Because clearly, we can’t be alone in this huge vastness of the universe all by ourselves, can we? Unless we really are just all plugged into the Matrix.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
daily prompt: what is your favorite photo you've ever taken?

A tale of three Comets

Today #Bloganuary asks about my favorite photo. As soon as I saw the prompt, I knew this would be both difficult and easy at the same time.

I take a lot of photos. Mostly just throw away photos, but there’s a lot. Photos of food, photos of pets, flowers, whatever I want to remember.

And that really is the essence. For me, photos are all about capturing memories. So asking for my favorite photo is like asking for my favorite memory.

I can’t pick just one. However, you’ll see there’s a theme.

These three photos are all of Comet. From left to right:

Comet under my seat on an airplane. This was our first trip home together, flying from Baltimore to San Francisco. I was reading Harry Potter for the first time!

Comet with his red raincoat. Oh boy, he hated that, and he wouldn’t pee outside with it on. Sort of defeated the point!

Comet covered in mud. My other dog Bailey had been playing in the creek at my dad’s house, and as he would dart out of the water, he would run a bit with Comet. Comet never got in the water, just at the edge, but he ended up like this, while Bailey came out fairly clean.

Comet is the origin story for this blog and its name, Adventures of Cometgrrl. It used to be Adventures of Cometgrrl and Comet. 🥲

I don’t know that I loved Comet any more than Roxy or Indy or Dexter. I have tons of photos of them too! However, the photos and memories of the living are not quite as precious as for those who are gone.

It’s been over 10 years, and I still can’t watch this video without crying.

When you can’t eat anything else, you make a salad.

I’ve been suffering from acid reflux, chronic sinus issues, and IBS. A few years ago, a doctor recommended an elimination diet. Well, the acid reflux and the IBS got a LOT better during the elimination phase.

Then I did a really shitty job of adding things back in and went crazy with pizza and wine. As far as I can tell, the IBS symptoms are most likely caused by corn, dairy, and/or not having enough fiber. When I was doing the elimination part, I ate an apple every day, and lots of lentils.

So, here I am trying again to get to the bottom of this and find the mysterious thing that’s making me sick. At the very least, this is a good opportunity to kick the caffeine habit. My doctor thinks that’s the most likely cause of my acid reflux issues, which might also be causing the sinus issues.

This time around I am doing a much shorter list. For three weeks:

  • No gluten
  • No dairy
  • No corn (it’s hiding in everything, this one is hard)
  • No soy (also hiding in a lot of things)
  • No eggs (easy, pretty much don’t eat them already)
  • No caffeine
  • No fake sugars (like sorbitol)

This time I am allowing alcohol, sugar, nightshades, and refined oils. Hopefully, I will still get some results. Once the three weeks are up, the key is to add things back one at a time and monitor for any symptoms.

Since I can’t order a pizza, tonight I made a salad. Roxy really enjoyed getting some scraps of green beans. I swear, she’ll eat anything if she thinks it’s people or cat food.

Lemony Dijon Dill Bean Salad

  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 to 2 cups green beans
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 1-2 TBSP Old Style (grainy) mustard
  • 1-2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • juice from 1 lemon (or 2 TBSP)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 TBSP dill (chopped)

This salad is really easy to make. If you don’t want to do ANY cooking, leave out the green beans.

  • Trim and cut the green beans into bite-size pieces. Blanch by boiling for 2 minutes, then transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water until cool. Pat dry and then place in a bowl.
  • Drain and rinse the canned beans, and place them into your bowl.
  • Add the onions and radishes.
  • Mix the mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and dill. Toss w/ salad or serve on the side.

You can top this with some vegan cheese, l went with Minimalist Baker’s vegan parm.

Not a fan of red onions or radishes? Try celery or carrots instead, to keep the crunch.

Today’s #Bloganuary prompt is to write about something mysterious.

daily prompt: what book is next on your reading list?

Next up…

Earlier this week, I finished reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Early today, I finished The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James. So what’s up next?

I’ve already started Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff, and I will probably start The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker this week as well. I’ve been interested in reading The Golem and the Jinni for quite some time; it’s been on my Goodreads list for almost 9 years! I’m excited to finally get to it. Often, I get distracted from the list, and start reading things that aren’t always on the list. 🧐

Between Goodreads, Trello, and StoryGraph, I’m sure there are over 1,000 books on my tbr (to be read) list. I will never get to them all! Even looking at the series I’ve started, to finish all of them is 60 books. That’s almost a whole year’s worth of reading right there.

For 2022, rather than set a reading goal for the number of books, I’m going for a page goal instead. I’m hoping this will prevent me from avoiding longer books (like Empire of the Vampire), and that I won’t feel the need to read a bunch of short things at the end of the year.

Looking back, even after reading a bunch of Outlander-related short stories and novellas, I still missed my goal of 75 books last year, finishing the year with 66 books and 17,364 pages read, according to Goodreads.

Goodreads doesn’t allow a page goal, only books, so I made a guess and put 65. Hopefully, if I meet the page goal, the book count will come naturally. On StoryGraph, I have a page goal of 24000! Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading Wheel of Time this year! Of course, that adds around 14 books to finish all in-progress series, so maybe I should wait. 😆 I would also really like to do better about writing reviews this year. I guess that has to wait until this #Bloganuary challenge is over!

Today’s #Bloganuary prompt is to write about the next book on my reading list.